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UAE in top 10 for overseas Filipino workers

The Philippine labour secretary says her compatriots deserve a $400 minimum wage in the UAE.

ABU DHABI // The UAE has contributed significantly to the Philippines' labour mobility as it is one of the country's top 10 markets for overseas Filipino workers, Rosalinda Baldoz, the Philippines' labour secretary said yesterday.

"We are deploying many skilled professionals here, although we continue to have a sizeable number of domestic workers," she said.

"Normally, it is this vulnerable sector [domestic workers] that would create an impression of abuse and exploitation, so we welcome the adoption of the ILO Convention 189 on Decent Work for Domestic Workers."

In June 2011, the UAE voted in favour of Convention 189 at a conference of member states in Geneva.

It promises domestic workers clear conditions of employment before they start work, a monthly salary in cash, one day off every week and freedom of association. However, the UAE has yet to ratify the convention.

The labour secretary said that if the UAE could address this particular area then "we will see a more vibrant market where there are more positive and more concrete results in terms of the value added to our migrant workers and fewer negative issues that arise from exploitation and trafficking".

She does not consider the US$400 (Dh1,469) minimum wage set by the Philippine government for household workers as a barrier to labour mobility.

"Our domestic workers are competent and possess certain qualifications that other domestic workers from other countries do not seem to have," she said.

She hoped that any agreement would include faster issuing of visas, electronic contracts and a faster processing of exit permits for the repatriation of workers.

rruiz@thenational.ae

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